While most Met reporters spent the All Star Break thinking of who the Mets could sell to get top prospects, I spent time thinking about how the Mets can salvage THIS season–a year many thought they would be a playoff contender.
I thought long and hard about it during the break and I came to the conclusion this roster has far too much talent to think a run was not within their grasp.
But I was wondering how the players felt about that. So, I spent the last few days asking the leaders in the Met clubhouse whether they had the weapons to fight their way back into this thing and I got a resounding yes from players like Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto and most notably Todd Frazier whose leadership skills are off the charts.
Two things have gone right from the start of the second half for this team –the bullpen and the starting rotation and that is the best way to put games in the “W” column which they have clearly done going 9-5 since the break and more importantly they have a 2.62 Team ERA since the break.
More specifically, the starters have gone 8-2 with a 2.50 ERA during the stretch and quite frankly this is the strength of this team. They may not have totally shown that on a consistent basis this year but if they continue performing well, things can be real different in the coming weeks.
Now the so-called experts are insisting the Mets must sell off pitchers to pad their farm system but I say lets hold on for a moment. Since the break, the Mets have climbed within 6 games of the wild card. They still have to leapfrog over a bunch of teams but far less than a week or two ago as they have passed the Padres, Reds, Pirates and Rockies which is a great start.
They are still behind 4-5 teams but this hot stretch has cut the teams they were chasing in half. The schedule after tomorrow takes the Mets to Chicago to play the Chisox, Pittsburgh, and then back home to face Marlins and Nats.
These are games this team can win and get even closer in the Wild Card race. This reminds me so much of the 2016 season where the Mets were actually further back than they are now in mid-August before making a run and did it for two reasons–the starting pitching excelled and Yoenis Cespedes caught fire.
The same can be happening right now as Robinson Cano and Michael Conforto are heating up while Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso continue scorching the ball.
So that brings us to the question of the trading deadline. I would not trade any of these pitchers unless the haul is so great it actually helps you this year on the major league level as well as providing chips for the future. You work the market and try to get deals but know in the back of your mind, you still have a fighting chance.
It may be a slim one but you owe it to the fan base to make every effort to turn things around.
Getting to 500 by mid August is a must and this team can do that. As far as trading pitching, my thought is you can get as good a deal in off-season as at the deadline so do not feel the need to pull the trigger on a trade you think is just OK–it has to blow you away.
Six games in Wild Card Standings simply means you have to make up three games in August and three in the final month.
Is that an easy task? Of course not but it is not an impossible one. And on the 50th anniversary of 69 Mets, don’t we all remember that tasks the experts view as impossible can sometimes become very realistic.
The first step is completing the sweep of Pirates on Sunday and then taking care of business on the road. If you believe that is possible, you keep this roster intact and to me, that would be the way to go.
I have always thought this rotation could be a group that can accomplish great things and how great would be getting back in this wild card race. You can still approach the trading deadline with an open mind but you must consider that the people who live inside the Met clubhouse think their season is far from over.
And they would love to prove that point to the detractors who have already written that negative Met script. A script that in my humble opinion is far from being completely finished.
Is it a risk? Of course it is but most great things we can accomplish always come with a risk. That is what makes achieving those things such a thrill because proving your detractors wrong is the ultimate payback. And trailing that Wild Card spot by six games is not a journey that is impossible.
It will have tons of obstacles but I firmly believe this Mets roster has the talent to tackle those obstacles and in the process they can make this an exciting final 60 days of the season.